Great to see you here in Little Rock recently. We were relieved to hear that you made it home. I want to share some perspectives with you, but first want to let you know that nothing you do, say, or believe (or who you vote for) alters my love for you. Really! That should be freeing to you.
In this missive, I want to focus on one issue – human life. This is an attempt to describe a pro-life perspective and apply that perspective to what is going on in the U.S. and the world. This is a 5 year or perhaps a 10 year letter. You may dismiss it now, but five or ten years from now you may have an experience that connects with some element of this letter.
As you know, the Biblical perspective on human life is that we were created in the image of God; although He is a Spirit, we are like Him. We look like Him, we have a spirit that can connect with Him, as well as emotions, will, and reason, which He also has. We are not merely animals but are a special creation. This sanctity of life perspective shaped the foundation of our nation, and is in contrast to the cultures and political systems from which our forefathers and foremothers came.
Furthermore, God is not a respecter of persons, and we – both men and women – are all equal under the law of God. Under kings, the king and his cohorts are elite rulers who make all of the decisions; the people have little or no voice. The same is often true for sultans, czars, emperors, pharaohs, and chiefs. Many of these considered themselves to be gods, and some practiced human sacrifice.
So the rule of law, in which everyone is equal under the law, was a departure from historical precedents. One of the first to embrace this was when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Even Moses was treated as equal to other people by God, and was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of his transgression. In most of the elitist systems, human life was cheap and expendable for the cause of the regime in power. In direct contrast, early Christians rescued abandoned babies off the trash heaps in ancient Rome because they believed in the sanctity of human life.
I would add that our nation’s history and treatment of Native Americans and African Americans has been a dark stain on our nation’s history, for which there is no excuse. Our Declaration of Independence laid out the basic premise that all men are created equal, but it has taken years and at least one war before that ideal has started to become more fully realized.
Although our nation is still a work in progress, the existence of slavery, persecutions, and lack of basic freedoms and economic opportunity in many other countries today may account for the continued flow of people into our nation from other nations.
Modern attacks on the sanctity of human life and the notion that we were created in the image of God come from:
- Charles Darwin, who favored evolution (really macro-evaluation from one species to another) as the best explanation of origins, leading to the perspective that we are merely animals, albeit smart animals. If we are merely animals, then there is no creator with a purpose for our lives, and we can make up our own rules. This is taught in most public schools and universities as “scientific”, ignoring the substantial body of knowledge in creation science that confirms the Biblical world view. The Intelligent Design Movement consists of a group of evolutionary scientists, some of them quite prominent, who have concluded that the data, and the intricate nature of nature forces them to conclude that nature (like Mount Rushmore) did not happen by chance, but by design from some kind of intelligence.
- Radical environmentalists embrace evolution and are more concerned for the future of the earth and its ecosystem than people. This leads to laws that protect endangered species (such as the spotted owl) at the expense of the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of people in Oregon, Washington, and other states.
- The New World Order, espoused by every U.S. president since George H. Bush, is a movement toward a one world government, one world economy, one world financial system, and one world religion. New World Order advocates are globalist elitists – leaders of multi-national corporations, foundations, banks, and governments, who see population reduction as an essential part of their agenda. The New World Order people are ruthless criminals who start wars and have absolutely no regard for human life.
- Hitler also embraced evolution, and sought to eliminate those people who he did not view as highly as the Aryan race (Jews, gypsies, handicapped, etc.), as well as individuals who opposed his regime (Christians, priests, traditional German patriots, etc.)
- Karl Marx and Frederich Engels founded Marxism, a materialistic, totalitarian system which advocates replacing God with the state (federal government), and destroying or co-opting all intermediary associations between the individual and the state, including families, the church, businesses, and voluntary organizations. (This is exactly the agenda described by the Communist Party USA, when they met in the 1960s).
Based on the faulty presupposition that we are by nature good, Marx contended that as capitalism is replaced by socialism (government control of the means of production), which then evolves to communism (government control of the entire society), there will be no crime because everyone’s needs will be met, and the state will “wither away”. The reality is that communist states become repressive, totalitarian states ruled by ruthless thugs, with a track record of murdering tens of millions of their own people, even during peace time.
That is why millions of people have fled those countries to come to the U.S., while a much smaller number of Marxist idealists have chosen to move there. These totalitarian societies eliminate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to bear arms, and freedom to own private property. (It is alarming that these freedoms are now under assault in this country and in the world.) It is not uncommon among Marxists (even in this country) to discuss the need for millions of people to die (particularly those opposed to their regime), which they see as a necessary evil if the “dictatorship of the capitalists” is to be replaced by the “dictatorship of the proletariat” i.e. the working people.
Although they have the same goal – a totalitarian communistic state, there are two camps within Marxism – those who advocate violent overthrow of existing capitalist systems, and those who favor the gradual takeover of a society’s institutions from within. Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist count, advocated the latter. One of his ardent students was Saul Alinsky, the infamous community organizer from Chicago, who wrote “Rules for Radicals” and dedicated it to “the first rebel, Lucifer”. Alinsky has a famous pupil in very high political office, Barack Hussein Obama. As you may know, I was a Marxist for a time, studied Marx and Alinsky in grad school, and have visited five communist countries. I also presented a paper on Marxism at a national conference. A close friend lost her position in the University of California – Davis History Department when the Marxists took over and she would not toe the party line.
- Hinduism has a system of castes that people are born into and from which there is no escape (without leaving that system). Unlike Christianity, with its admonition to feed the poor, the Hindu perspective is that if you help someone in dire poverty, you will interfere with his/her karma, in which he must suffer in this life for wrong-doing in his previous life, in order to be reincarnated at a higher station of life in the next life. New Agers basically embrace Hinduism, its reincarnation, and pantheism.
- Islam is a special case. We can learn a lot by studying the founder of a religion. While Jesus treated women with respect and taught his followers to love their enemies, Mohammad personally led multiple raids on passing caravans for booty, women, and slaves. Observing the gradual increase in Muslims in a Western nations, the pattern that is emerging is that rather than assimilate within the culture, Muslims increase their demands for sharia law, with its barbaric treatment of criminals and women. A few other clues:
- Within Islam, the only sure way you know you are going to Paradise when you die is when you die in Jihad – holy war. Perhaps that is why a Palestinian mother exclaimed a few years ago that the happiest day of our life was when her son blew himself up as a suicide bomber in Israel. Amazing – this describes a culture of death!
- During the Iran-Iraq war, a war between two Muslim nations, Iran sent out thousands of its teenagers to clear the minefields prior to a military battle. They became human fodder in this tragic war.
- Honor killings takes place in the Middle East and this country when a family member, usually the father, kills another member of the family who has shamed the family. If a young woman is raped, she is killed by her father because she has shamed her family. Meanwhile, the rapist faces far lesser charges. Unbelievable. So the family’s “honor” is more important than human life.
- In similar fashion, an Egyptian professor at Cairo University converted to Christianity and had to flee because his father was about to kill him to restore honor to the family.
- Abortion – with the perspective that human life is just a blob of tissue, abortionists have killed an estimated 70 million babies in the U.S. since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. The tide turned somewhat when “Silent Scream” came out – a video that shows the pain that an unborn child experiences during an abortion. Under President Obama, our government pressures other nations to embrace abortion. I heard an interview with a pastor from Kenya, in which he described how the U.S. government pressured Kenya to change its constitution to accept abortion. President Obama has also sought to force Christian health organizations (Catholic hospitals, etc.) to provide abortion services, in direct conflict with their fundamental beliefs. Worldwide, approximately a billion babies have been killed since 1973, for which our nation bears some responsibility. The blood of these murdered babies cries out from the ground against our nation and our government.
Abortion leads to bizarre things happening. I recently read that 400-500 babies every year are alive due to botched abortions. I saw a video clip of one of these individuals, in which she told her story of how her mother and abortion “doctor” tried to kill her, but she survived. Now that is a dysfunctional family!
In contrast, the Word of God states:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me… for You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;marvelous are Your works, that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:7-16
Unlike materialistic/communistic systems, in which people have no transcendent or special purpose other than utility, or systems that embrace evolution in which we are just animals, the Biblical world view describes a world in which we were created by God teleologically – with a purpose.
Just as nature is a product of design (as opposed to evolutionary chance), so was human life was designed with a purpose. We – you and I, were created by God with a purpose, and that purpose is to draw close to Him on earth, to reflect His love and truth to all people, and to enjoy His presence here on earth and in heaven when we die. But He won’t force anyone to be there who does not want to be in the presence of God.
God invites us to into a relationship (not just a belief) with Him, in which we fellowship and can be led by the Holy Spirit of the sovereign, living God. And this is truly amazing.
Many people’s experience with Christianity has not been positive. Perhaps they encountered a dead church or Christians who did not walk the walk, or were stuck in stifling social roles. Or perhaps they were just seeking a social organization, and became tired of hearing about Jesus, sin and guilt. (False guilt comes from man and is often manipulative; true guilt comes from the Lord and is redemptive.)
Most people don’t like to be called sinners – it is like telling someone they are a bad person. I find it more useful (and Biblically accurate) to note that teleologically, sin is merely missing its mark, like a car that runs off the road and hits a tree. Cars were not designed to hit trees; they are designed to drive down the road. In like manner, we were not created to crash off the road; we were created with the capacity and desire to know the Lord. This is expressed in the following – the Greatest Danger.
The Greatest Danger
The greatest danger facing all of us is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all – not these things.
The danger is that we may:
- fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning,
- fall short of its highest good,
- miss its deepest and most abiding happiness,
- be unable to tender the most needed service,
- be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God,
- and be content to have it so.
That is the danger – that some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself.
For life without god, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared – satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father. Phillip Brooks (1835-1893)